I saw something a while ago on Pinterest (I didn't pin it, so I don't have the exact link) about having a clean house with only cleaning 15-20 minutes a day. Now, this doesn't include tasks like picking up toys or sorting clutter or everyday stuff like dishes and laundry - this is just cleaning. Dusting, vaccuuming, and scrubbing toilets. It doesn't sound like much, but that's the beauty of it - who doesn't have 15 minutes? Even I can find 15 minutes in a day. The key is getting into a routine, and doing it every day, every week, so it doesn't become overwhelming. I think that's one of the reasons that I found the 31-day spring cleaning challenge so hard earlier this year - I barely have my regular cleaning under control, let alone having time to get the deep cleaning stuff done. So I'm going to give this a try (although I realize it will be difficult to keep up a routine over the holidays).
So here's my schedule - I'm going to give it a try and see how it works for me. Even if I don't get a task done in 15-20 minutes, it will be much better than how it is right now.
Monday - Clean our bathroom
Tuesday - Dust and wipe fingerprints off mirrors/windows/etc.
Wednesday - Vaccuum upstairs
Thursday - Clean downstairs bathroom and kids' bathroom
Friday - Vaccuum downstairs
Saturday - Mop (possibly do this on Friday, if time) and deep cleaning task or catch up on missed tasks from the week
Sunday - Rest and enjoy a clean house
For the deep cleaning tasks on Saturday, I'm going to try to go through the list of tasks from the spring cleaning challenge - stuff like organizing my pantry, cleaning the oven, washing walls, organizing closets, etc.
We've also got Annika more involved with cleaning up, and we try to do a "5 minute clean up" with her each night. We set the timer for 5 minutes, and we put away as many toys and books and stuff as we can in 5 minutes, before going up to bed. When we finish, she gets to put a sticker on her "clean up chart" (she loves stickers and charts). She's completed one chart already, and got a book as a reward. Her current chart is a bit bigger (10 spots), so we'll see what the reward will be once it's full. However, I think she's starting to learn the value of cleaning up, even without the reward. The other morning she just started cleaning everything up on her own, without any prompting from me or any promise of a reward. When I asked her why she was cleaning up, she told me that she was doing it for Emmett, because she thought he'd like everything clean so he could mess it up again. :) It was really quite cute.
I also want to start being more intentional with keeping things organized and put away - hanging up clean laundry right away, putting away clean dishes once they're dry, not letting paper pile up on the counters. I know I've stated these goals before, but they still haven't become habits yet! I really want to work on it, though (maybe this is an early new year's resolution?), because I think it will make the 15-20 minutes of actual cleaning easier to get done (it's much easier to clean when there isn't junk in the way). I love our house, but half the time it's so messy and dirty that I don't fully enjoy it. There's just something about a neat and clean house that is calming to the soul.